Ancient Egyptian sailing boat

Ancient Egyptian sailing boat

The river and marine sailing boats of ancient Egypt were one-masted, oared boats



antiquity, sailboat, sail, Egypt, Egyptian, watercraft, Nile, maritime trade, waterway, rudder, transportation, oar, papyrus reed, freight transport, stream, sea

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Ancient Egyptian sailing boat

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  • yard
  • brace
  • steering oar
  • hull
  • oar
  • mast
  • halyard
  • sail



In Ancient Egypt, the Nile was the source of life. But the river did not only play an important role in agriculture, it had an essential role in trade and transport, being the only navigable river in the region. As there was very little wood available, vessels were initially built of papyrus reed. This material required special techniques and resulted in unique structures. Later, wooden vessels appeared, constructed out of short wooden boards. These boats were built without timber frames or keels. When navigating downstream, they relied on the river’s current; when sailing upstream they used the wind blowing from the sea. Boats had a single mast with a square sail, initially made of papyrus, and later of cotton fabric. Boats were steered by steering oars.

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